Prince Harry took a day out from Apache helicopter training to see for himself damage caused by rioters last week in the north of England – and he commended police officers and ambulance crew for doing "a fantastic" job.His presence caused excitement in Salford, Greater Manchester where crowds cheered his arrival.
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The Queen's grandson explained that he'd been "shocked and outraged" by footage of the disturbances.In response, officers told him many of them had worked 13 consecutive shifts and there were times when they feared for their lives.PC Andy Sheridan said: "In 20 years of policing, last Tuesday was the most frightening thing I've ever encountered."Harry replied: "I think it's fantastic what you guys have done to keep a lid on it. It seems really quiet out there in Salford now."The 26-year-old royal added: "You all did a fantastic job on the night and it's great to see Manchester and Salford back on its feet."As an army officer I really respect the work you guys do and I can't praise your bravery high enough."
Officers described Harry as "down-to-earth" and "grounded". PC Stuart Mulqueeney told the Daily Telegraph: "He's our favourite royal. He's like us really. He's one you'd like to take to the pub."At one point, popular royal was taken to see newsagent Ismail Patel, 43, whose shop suffered damage worth £90,000 and was set on fire.The father of six, was touched because the Prince "seemed to genuinely care about what would happen to my business and the consequences for my family"Harry's visit follows a very visible show of support for local communities from Prince Charles who embraced victims in Tottenham, North London, earlier this week.Accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall, he chatted with residents at local leisure centre which has been transformed into an emergency refuge.Showing that William and Harry aren't the only Windsors to understand the value of the personal touch, the future King crouched down low so he could talk to little ones, some whose families were burned out of their homes.
The locals seemed very pleased about the royal visit.One young man, who described himself as an actor and poet, shook the heir to the throne's hand, before presenting him with a rap CD. He encouraged Charles to "go home and have a listen", adding: "God bless you".Meanwhile Parvez Iqbal, the owner of an Indian food shop on London Road, who has been unable to open the shop after it was targeted by rioters was overwhelmed."They were both very sympathetic and said they appreciated what we are trying to do."Prince Charles told me there is something in the pipeline, hopefully we might benefit in some way."
The visit came as the Prince of Wales' youth charity, The Prince's Trust, announced a "doubling of support for young people across five of the areas hardest hit by the riots".In all, the organisation will invest £2.5m to give disadvantaged young people positive opportunities to keep their lives on track".The government have also announced that Croydon and Tottenham will get £20m for repairs.